Taipei begins the restoration of the Chen Tien-lai residence

Putian Enterprise team used special equipment to analyze and date artefacts found inside nearly 100-year-old Taipei home

  • By Yang Hsin-hui and Jonathan Chin / Journalist, with editor-in-chief

Taipei’s Department of Cultural Affairs has commissioned an effort to document artefacts at the historic Chen Tien-lai Residence (陳 天 來 故子) as part of a heritage restoration project.

Built in 1924 by Chen, a wealthy tea merchant in what is today known as Datong District (大同), the mansion is an example of Taiwan’s cosmopolitan architectural style of the Japanese colonial period, said the department in a statement Tuesday.

Years of property disputes between Chen’s descendants hampered efforts to preserve the house as a cultural site until the city assumed management through section 28 of the Preservation Act. of cultural heritage (文化 資產 保存 法), he said.

Photo: Yang Hsin-hui, Taipei Times

Putian Enterprise has been hired to document the architectural features of the house and more than 300 elements before the department can proceed with the project next year, he said.

The contractor’s team said the systematic investigation would use special instruments to perform compositional analysis and dating of the artefacts.

Such information is needed for a restoration plan that would preserve the historic features of the structure and the artefacts it houses, he said.

Photo: Yang Hsin-hui, Taipei Times

The Southeast Asian brick floors, Taiwanese red cypress and Indian narra wood furniture found throughout the house, and its Fujian carpentry are proof that the Chen family presided over a trading network. extended, he said.

Careful historical preservation is often overlooked in Taiwan, and specialists are trying to take additional measures to protect the house’s historic artifacts during the project, he said.

Descendant Chen Chun-hung (陳 æ·³ 渱) said giving the mansion to the city was the right decision to preserve the family’s legacy and its place in history.

The city aims to complete the NT $ 100 million (US $ 3.6 million) restoration project on the 100th anniversary of the mansion’s construction in 2024, the department said.

The building is to become a permanent place for the exhibition of historical artifacts, while the garden is to become a public recreation area, he said.

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